EASTON — When Saints Peter and Paul High’s winter sports teams began practicing in early December, some athletes, coaches and parents may have wondered if there would be an opportunity to compete against another team, since several schools had opted out of the winter season based on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Two months later, the Sabres are getting those opportunities.
The girls’ basketball team opened its season Tuesday, and the boys’ basketball team is scheduled to tip off its five-game season with home games Friday and Saturday. The swim team has two meets slated, while the ice hockey team has just one game scheduled.
Yes, the opportunities are few, but at least the Sabres are getting a chance to do something other than practice.
“At this point for us, in the course of the year, it’s more about providing opportunities for our student-athletes to compete, not so much about championships and playoffs,” Sts. Peter and Paul Athletic Director Pat Tracy said.
“Unlike some of the other schools in the conference, we’ve had the ability to practice since December with the hope that at some point a season would come about,” said Tracy, whose ice hockey, swim and boys’ basketball teams compete in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. “The MIAA made the decision on the season, and certain teams decided to opt in and certain teams decided to opt out. And even though a small amount of teams within our conference in all our sports opted in, we still wanted to give our student-athletes and our coaches, the opportunity to be rewarded for the hard work that they’ve been putting in in practice.”
The boys’ basketball team — one of just three MIAA C Conference schools that chose to play — is slated to open its season at home Friday at 5 p.m. against out-of-conference Worcester Prep, then welcomes St. Mary’s for an 11 a.m. game Saturday. The Sabres are set to host Concordia on Feb. 19, then finishes their season with games at Concordia (Feb. 23) and Indian Creek (Feb. 27).
As was the case with Tuesday’s girls’ basketball game, no spectators will be allowed at boys’ home games, which will be live streamed.
The hockey team is scheduled to play its one and only game on Friday, Feb. 26, when it hosts Gilman at the Talbot County Community Center. Sts. Peter and Paul and Gilman were the only B Conference schools that opted to play.
“They’re ecstatic,” Tracy said of the hockey team. “They’re happy that they get an opportunity just to play a game. Again in our ice hockey league, we only had one other school in our conference that opted in and that was Gilman. We’re the only team that’s able to host right now.
“We have one game on the schedule and we’re happy that we have that,” Tracy said. “We are working on maybe potentially being able to add another game, but that’s still to be determined. I think our coaches, especially talking with our athletes who are hockey players, they’re just excited to have an opportunity to play against somebody else.”
The swim team is scheduled to swim against St. Mary’s on Friday at Club One Fitness & Aerobics in Chester, then travels to the Bel Air Athletic Club for a meet against John Carroll on Feb. 17.
“The issue with swimming is, we were one of three (C Conference schools) that opted in, but only one school, John Carroll, is allowed to host meets,” Tracy said. “St. Mary’s is in the conference above us and it was an opportunity for us to swim against them. They swim in Kent Island, so it’s a lot more local.”
The opportunity to live stream the hockey game and swim meets may be unavailable, according to Tracy.
Sts. Peter and Paul’s AD also said boys’ basketball games will follow the same safety protocols used in Tuesday’s girls’ opener, where game balls were consistently sanitized and swapped throughout the game.
“As a league we put in certain guidelines and protocols to make sure that we’re doing everything above and beyond to create a safe environment for the athletes to compete in,” said Tracy, whose girls’ teams compete in the Eastern Shore Athletic Independent Conference. “And one of those is making sure on a consistent basis sanitizing the game balls. There’s just a lot of different hands touching it so at every break that we could, we have three balls in a rotation where they come out, we sanitize them and when they’re ready they go back in.”
Tracy said Sts. Peter & Paul’s spring season is scheduled to begin practice the first week of March with the idea of having full seasons.
“The MIAA, it’s on,” Tracy said of the spring season. “We’ve had all our league meetings and all our sport meetings this week. Everyone is kind of moving forward.”